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Meet the Clam Experts

Joseph CarlinJoseph Carlin

“I’m a public health nutritionist by profession, but I have been a food historian even longer. I’ve always been interested in the history and evolution of not only food, but the recipes for food, and culinary practices. You know, a lot of people have called me the Clam Man only because I speak on the topic so often. I’m really a promoter of the clam, and I love to take the role of identifying with an underdog.”


Franklyn E. Goucher
Courtesy of the Essex Historical Society.

Franklyn E. Goucher

(From his memoirs)

“When I was a young boy digging clams here in the Essex River, one of my greatest pleasures was listening to the older clammers swapping tales with one another. Once in a while, anywhere from three to a half dozen would happen to gather in the same area and start relating true and many humorous stories for an hour or two without a repeat. I couldn’t begin to remember them all but I do recall a few. Some happened before my time, some didn’t. Those that did, I will narrate pretty much as I heard them. Those that didn’t I will tell them as I remember.”


Jack GrundstromJack E. Grundstrom

“Well, I am a third-generation clam digger in Rowley. My grandfather came up from Sweden, dug clams. My father dug clams. I dug clams. John, my son, is the fourth generation. His daughter and his sister’s son are both commercial clam diggers. They are both away at college now, but when they get home, the first place they’ll head to will be clam flats. Because we love it!”


John GrundstromJohn H. Grundstrom

“I started clamming at maybe six or seven, just a little bit, and then eight, nine, ten, a lot more. I think I was probably around twelve, and I got up one day and my father said, 'I think it’s time you get your own boat.' Actually at one point I had a retail store in Ipswich. I’d dig clams, run that, and then, about 1978 or so, I decided to take a little side trip to Key West one winter, and ended up going down there and opening a business. And then about twenty-two years ago I learned the art of fishing natural sea sponges. I would literally fish out of Key West in the winter, and then come back here and clam from April to about October.”


Dave SargentDave Sargent

“I’ve been the city of Gloucester Shellfish Constable since 2005, and for five years before that I tried to promote the opening of shell fishing areas through the city’s wastewater management plan. And then for twenty-five years previous to that, I was a commercial shellfisherman. And prior to that, I was a recreational shellfisherman.”

Len Woodman

Leonard and Kyle Woodman

Leonard and Kyle (not pictured) are the grandson and great grandson of Lawrence and Bessie Woodman, whose inspired fried clam recipe from 1914 is the basis for the beloved family-owned restaurant, Woodman's of Essex.








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Meet the Clam Experts